PORT FOURCHON, La. — In the gathering frustration over failures to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has emerged as one of the staunchest critics of the response by the federal government and BP PLC.
Nearly every day, the Republican policy wonk pulls on his brown cowboy boots and traipses across a newly oiled shore, or takes a boat through fouled waters. Along the way, he often lambastes BP's and the federal government's efforts as "too little, too late" for communities scrambling to protect their fragile wetlands from encroaching crude—comments that have drawn sharp criticism from the White House and some Democratic lawmakers.
Louisiana has jurisdiction over its coastline, but none in the federal waters of the Gulf.
Mr. Jindal accuses the federal government of poorly coordinating cleanup efforts between its agencies and BP, leading to delays in cleaning oiled beaches and marshes, laying protective boom and delivering resources to critical areas.
Pledging that Louisiana will "take matters into our own hands" if the Obama administration doesn't speed up its pace, he has begun coastal patrols for oil and relays new sightings to the Coast Guard and BP. He dispatched the Louisiana National Guard and state personnel to build shore barriers, lay sandbags and monitor the shores.
In turn, Democrats in Louisiana and in Washington—including some in the White House—have grown frustrated with Mr. Jindal, whom they say has received a pass to criticize the Obama administration even as some of his own efforts raise questions.
On a recent morning, Mr. Jindal led a group of local officials, news media and others in boats to the mouth of the Mississippi River, where oil has enveloped the Pass a Loutre wetlands. Thick swirls of reddish-brown oil slicked the water's surface in all directions, and heavy black crude coated the bases of Roseau cane.
"This is one of the most important nurseries for the Gulf, and we have to fight this oil at the barrier islands instead of in our interior wetlands," he said.